On the streets of New York City

There is one thing I will never be able to get used to while living here. Seeing homeless people on the streets.

I remember the first time I saw a homeless person and really understanding what his situation was. I was visiting New York City with my family and I was around 13 years old. Everytime I’d see someone begging for money I’d point them out to my mom asking her give them some change. Eventually my mom told me that we can’t give some to everyone, there are so many.
We were there in February and it was freezing cold. We were walking near Central Park when an older man walked up to us and asked if we had any spare clothing since he was cold. My mom had just bought these soft, bright neon green gloves. She gave them to the man. He was too cold to put them on, so my mom assisted him. The mental picture of the man walking away with bright neon gloves will never leave my mind. Such a small thing to be happy about and thankful for.

Coming from a country that has very little poverty, and almost no homeless people, I still find it difficult now to look upon all these poor people. I still want to stop by every single one and give them change. But I don’t anymore, my mom was right.. there are so many.

Being in a big city like this is so different. When walking along the street I see so many people. So many different individuals. I’ve always liked imagining where they’re coming from, or where they’re going. What’s their story?
Sometimes I think about how everyone was a baby once. It’s an oddly comforting thought. No matter how people are now, whatever they’ve done or where they’ve ended up, they were a baby once. An innocent child that was not yet programmed. It had no prejudice, it did not judge. It wanted to give every homeless person money, simply because they saw that he/she needed it.

I like to think about how many people there are in the world. Everyone is the center in their world. Just as I’m sitting here writing this, a woman I passed yesterday, who was to my story just an extra, is now dealing with something, or doing something that is important to her storyline.

When you’re in a store in Reykjavík and you run into someone you know it’s not uncommon. We aren’t that many. So whenever I’m at the movies, or at the pool it’s even kind of likely that I’ll see someone I know. We are only around 330.000. There are way more people in Brooklyn alone!
A strange thought that then sometimes comes to mind when I’m at a public place in Reykjavík is “There are so many Icelandic people I don’t know!”.

And now I’m in an enormous city and I know so few people. There are so many storylines. Many of them have their main character, their hero… on the street.

Last night I went to the store that’s about 3 minutes away from our apartment. On the way I was stopped by a man. He looked my age. Around 23 years old. He was asking for food. This really hit me hard. How is it that he is here, at 10 pm begging for food. Where are his people? How did he end up here? What is his story?
As I sit here writing this I’m thinking where did he end up. Is he homeless? Did he eat? When was the last time he ate? Should I have found him after I’d been to the store? How will the hero of this story survive?

I will never get used to seeing homeless people. I’ve lived so long without.

Cats vs. dogs

After having lived here for a couple of weeks now there is one thing that I know for sure… dogs run this town. Everywhere I go there are dogs. You would think that in a big city like this not too many people have room for a dog in their tiny New York apartment. But dogs of all sizes rule these streets.
Where are all the cats? Those of you who have ever lived in Reykjavík know that cats basically own it. Downtown Reykjavík is filled with cats. I miss them.

New York dog toilet

Now here’s the real question. Which animal do I prefer? Cats vs. dogs. It is impossible to answer… I haven’t had a dog (“thanks mom!”), but I’ve had quite a few cats. Dogs love you so much, they are always excited to see you and would like nothing more than to hang out with you. They do however need a lot of attention, you have to walk them and make sure they aren’t by themselves for too long.
Cats are way more self-reliant. They go in and out as they please. If they want contact with you it will be on their terms. They can however be dicks. Because of their need for independence they do not care about you if you piss them off in some way. Which actually is kind of fair. Well, in conclusion: I have no idea.

The reason this post is dedicated to cats and dogs is that I am in the city of dogs but I have found the cats. Here is the best cafe in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Cat Cafe.


To be fair it is not really great for getting a cup of coffee or something to eat. I was just there I don’t even know what they offer, I was more interested in the CATS I guess.


A couple of days ago I stumbled upon their website and I knew I had to go there. They are a non-profit organization that holds a great deal of adoptable cats.
Before I visited I even filled out a form applying for a volunteer position at the cafe. I am currently waiting a response. This means I might get to be around these lovely kitties some more. Hopefully I’ll be able to help out there a couple of times a week!

I’ve never considered volunteering before. Usually you look for a job that pays. I guess we humans are selfish in that way, like cats.
Now, of course, is a great time to volunteer. I’m not allowed to work here and I have a lot of free time on my hands. What better way to spend my time than to snuggle up with a bunch of cats!

Since Reykjavík is the city of cats, maybe I should open up a cat cafe there! Nobody steal my idea please. Or maybe do. There are so many cats looking for a home in Iceland, we could do with some cat cafes.

I want to give a special shout-out to my favourite snuggler today, I don’t know his name but here’s his cute face. He was a dick to the other cats when they tried to get my attention. It was sweet. Come to think of it he looks kind of evil.

If you decide to comment your opinion on cats vs. dogs please give specific reason as to why you prefer one species over the other.

For this post I have picked a soundtrack from a film. It is Awesome mix vol. 1 from Guardians of the Galaxy. I have listened to it countless times. It is amazing.

Paying attention to detail

You know when you haven’t been a student for a while and you feel the urge to do an assignment? You think about all those english classes/Icelandic classes you had and you think “I would kill that assignment now!”.
I just realized this is probably the reason why I’m blogging while I’m here. It is primarily for me to be able to write, but what’s even better now is that more than one person will read this (I hope), as opposed to one teacher.

While walking my street back to my apartment I was admiring the buildings along the way. We all know that “Friends” apartment building look, well that’s what my street looks like. It’s not only beautiful to walk by them, if you really pay attention there is so much detail!


So now, since I wasn’t required to I researched the neighbourhood a little bit! Brooklyn Heights is a very wealthy neighbourhood, it is said to be one of most expensive places to live in all of New York City.
As I mentioned before, one of its best qualities is the Promenade, but its streets are also amazing. After realizing how much architectural detail there is I have begun to appreciate this neighbourhood even more.  Just look at these carvings into a now regular apartment building on Ramsen Street.


My favourite street is of course Love Lane. It is a small street we used to walk pass daily when living at the dorms. Very popular for shooting stuff for movies I hear! This was written about the street in an 1894 New York Times article:

“The oldest residents can remember a time when there was a cool and shady path leading down “Lover’s Lane,” where plump, rosy-cheeked Dutch maidens, with their sweethearts, meandered on summer evenings out through the turnstile and down the grassy bank to the water’s edge.”

I’ve been working at a tourist information for the past three summers in Iceland and I always tell people to check out the oldest part of town and to not miss the oldest street, Grjótagata, but I can’t say for sure if I’ve been there. I know for sure I haven’t appreciated it or taken it all in. I’ll have to do that.

My goal from now on is to pay more attention to detail. It will help me appreciate things even more.
It will also just help me to be mindful. I have a goal to meditate more. When I say more I mean some, because right now I don’t really. But this I think is a form of meditation. Meditation is clearing your mind and the two easiest techniques to help you get started is to focus on hearing and breathing with your eyes closed. But what about when you’re out? When you’re walking to the store or on your way to work? I think paying attention to detail can help anyone feel more calm and mindful.

I want to end this post with this picture I took in Svarfaðardalur last year (a valley in the north of Iceland). On the sign it says “Sæla” which means “Bliss”. I am so happy living here. Getting to live with my boyfriend for a while after some years of long distance. Getting to live in yet another place that is different from my home. My generation has the opportunity to do anything, and it is overwhelming sometimes, but it is so important to enjoy what we are doing now.


This post’s artist or band is Rush. They rock and shoutout to Mr. Holton for introducing them into my life.



All roads lead to The Promenade

Being from Iceland I am definitely enjoying the extra 10-15 degrees in September. I have now been here for almost a week and I realized that almost every day I have ended up going to the Promenade. The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is a pedestrian walkway where you get a great view of Manhattan.

Whether it is just to walk the “nicer” way home, to get some sun, or to go running, it never fails. While I’m here I want to explore New York and especially Brooklyn, The Promenade will however always be my first favorite place.

At the end of the Promenade we’ve found the best pizza place in Brooklyn. Granted we haven’t been to all of them, but after this one I feel like we don’t need to.

It is the lovely Julianna’s!

This is a small pizza place in the best location.. right by the Promenade. It’s a walk-in only restaurant so there will be a cue, but it’s worth the wait. What’s really special about this place is that the 84 year old owner, Patsy, is often there. He was last night and you can see how much he cares about his little pizzeria.

Of course after such a great meal you always need something sweet. Just a few steps down the street you’ll find the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Even when I’ve been here during winter, when the humid air freezes up your hair, I still get a scoop. It’s so delicious.

Now the blog might start to seem like I’m posting to advertise for certain places.. but it’s all just for me to remember them.

At the end of every blog I’ve decided to dedicate it to an artist. As you can imagine I like to listen to some music while writing.

This blog’s artists are JóiPé and Króli. They are taking Iceland by storm right now. The hottest in Icelandic Hip Hop at the moment. Keep it up. Their latest album Gerviglingur is good. Listen to it.

Small Tasks


First thing’s first. I’ve just decided that while I’m here I’m going to learn how to write with my left. I will keep you posted on my progress.

I saw this video the other day where a general in the US army was talking to a graduating class about the importance of completing small tasks throughout your day. He used the example of making your bed. Your first complete/incomplete of the day. It isn’t much but if completed it can build a small sense of completion. He believed that since you made your bed it is more likely that you will finish more small tasks throughout the day and therefore feel more accomplished by the end of it.

Everyone needs this. I really need this. This is my first day in Brooklyn. It just really hit me that I will have every day off here. I have to start “adulting”. 

My bed is not made. One second… now it is.

For my first few days here me and my boyfriend are staying at his college dorm. By the end of the week we move to an apartment. Our home for the next 3 months. If you’ve ever walked into a dorm room where two adult men are living together you can imagine how clean it is(n’t). As soon as we move, a new way of living starts. For example, we are not buying any more take-away. 

Today’s reading material is The College Cookbook by Geri Harrington. My dad lent me this book for my Brooklyn stay. I’ve now read the first 5 pages. It’s basically just telling me to complete several small tasks everyday when it comes to food. The main idea is of course “Do your own cooking”, and then it breaks it down for young inexperienced cooks like myself. “Compare prices”, “Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season”, “No ‘easy-to-cook’ dinners”.

Changing my eating habits will award me with a lot of small accomplishments.

While I’m here my goal is to learn how to be a responsible adult. No one really knows when they’ve become an adult. When you’re younger you think it’ll just hit you one day. You think you’ll get medal from your parents and there will be a celebration in your honor. But that doesn’t happen.
I’ve now made the decision of becoming an adult. As a 23 year old it might sound stupid, but I’m beginning to think you become an adult when you decide to.

I’ve now made my bed, I’ve started my second blog, I’ve written down tips for cooking, (with my left hand). Suck it small tasks, Bergþóra is now an adult. 


Who am I?

You know when you start a new school or move to a new town and you think “I can be who I want to be”. You might want to be a little more outgoing or put a little more effort into your wardrobe choices.
After some time as this new and “improved” person you realize that you will always be you. No matter how you change your look or habits the person other people get to know is the person you are.

That doesn’t mean that people don’t evolve. People label themselves, or other people as introverts, a social person, a jerk. No one is these labels. A person who identifies themselves as an introvert just hasn’t made efforts to improve their social skills. And maybe even believes that it isn’t possible. You can’t be defined by these labels.

But what defines who you are? I am a 23 years old, but next year I wont be , I am Bergþóra, but my name could have been something else. What makes me me?

It’s hard not to categorize yourself. I am a social person, but maybe it’s only when I’m around people who already make me feel comfortable. Of course these things won’t always be negative things and then they don’t do you harm. It is of course great to consider yourself a social person. But if I identify myself as an introvert and believe it’s just a fact and that’s how it will be, that’s not good.

You can evolve, you actually can be who you want to be, you just have to believe that you can improve and eventually begin to identify yourself to be in the categories you want to be in.

I will now be working on being more expressive, using my voice to do something creative, putting something out there. I will be working on putting into words what I experience and getting my thoughts on paper.. or this website!